Horses To Follow » Off The Ground

Off The Ground

It was only a Class 3 handicap chase that Off The Ground won at Doncaster on Saturday, but he won it in the style of a hugely progressive young chaser, and he may not be finished improving yet.

There was a lot to like about everything that Emma Lavelle’s horse did here. He travelled supremely well, his jumping was accurate and fluent, he took it up off Tahiti Pearl at the third last and he just went clear, a slight mistake at the final fence when he had the race in the bag the only flaw in a thoroughly impressive display. Indeed, the manner in which he picked up again after having his momentum halted by that mistake told you that he had plenty left to give if more had been required.

This was not a fantastic race, especially if you conclude that third-placed Nadiya De La Vega didn’t run her race, but you can only ever beat what they put in front of you, and Off The Ground did so really impressively in a good time. The handicapper has raised him 13lb to a mark of 146, and that was after a 15lb hike for his previous impressive win over the same course and distance, but there may still be some improvement to come. This was just his sixth chase, and he is only seven. He did jump to his left when he ran at Kempton in early November, so he probably will continue to be at his best at a left-handed track, he obviously likes Doncaster, and he goes well on good ground. Two and a half miles is probably his optimum distance for now.

14th December 2014